From Dysfunctional Relationships to Happily Married

Choose love over fear in the face of conflict for a thriving relationship.

I used to think that my emotional breakdowns reflected how much I cared about a partner. The more passionate, head-over-heels in love I was, the higher the likelihood of intense fights. I believed the common misconception that more you care about a person, the more they’ll hurt you. Oh, was I wrong.

What makes a relationship dysfunctional?

I, along with many of my previous partners, possessed nearly every quality bound to destroy a relationship. Jealous, stubborn, needy, distrustful, controlling, vindictive. I had this repeating pattern of falling in love quickly and going from super happy to experiencing sheer chaos within a few short months.

I had convinced myself that either I was attracting the wrong guys, or there was something really, really wrong with me. As it turns out, neither of those was true. Eventually I learned that every horrid fight was the result of choosing fear over love.

This simple solution never truly crossed my mind until a few years ago when I started delving deeper into the spiritual world. A yogini and lover of self help books and courses, I learned a lot when I took the time for introspection.

There was a common theme I kept encountering throughout my journey of self discovery: In all life situations there are only two ways to react—choose fear or choose love.

In my relationships, I chose fear 90 percent of the time. I was afraid of having my heart broken yet again, afraid of being alone and unloved, afraid of being cheated on and afraid of my partner finding someone better than me. Those fears and insecurities often came out as irrational anger, jealousy or extreme sadness.

Yelling battles, name calling, broken glass, holes in walls and lots of tears shed are all a part of my past. Don’t get me wrong—the relationships weren’t all bad. There were also surprise dates, exciting road trips, funny memories, deep conversations, parties with friends and much love shared. But the bad times never ended in a simple apology or compromise.

What qualities make a relationship healthy?

The shift from dysfunctional to healthy finally happened when I made a conscious daily effort to choose love over fear. Yes, it’s challenging. And no, it doesn’t mean there will never be fights. What it does mean is that I’m a more understanding and forgiving wife. My husband and I now feel comfortable talking about anything and everything. There is no more walking on eggshells.

When I see through the eyes of love, I realize that when my husband does something that upsets me, it’s often unintentional.

Choosing love over fear helps you put yourself in your partner’s shoes. When you choose fear, you jump to irrational conclusions. When you choose love, you can understand that a skipped chore might mean he or she is tired from a long day of work. A cancelled plan might mean he was lending an ear to a friend or family member in need.

When you choose love, it’s a win-win situation. Your partner will start to notice a shift within in you and will be more willing to compromise in return. Fights will no longer escalate when you express hurt feelings from a place of love instead of making wild accusations. Communication will be much more honest and open. Relationships will be much more likely to last. When given the opportunity, choose love in every situation, and you’ll get so much love in return.

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